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Of Stents, Celebrations and Secret Admirers

Hi!  Several months ago, our kids decided that in honor of my husband’s 60th ka”h birthday, we would all come to New York to celebrate.  My daughter Elkie’s in-laws have a bungalow colony, and they very graciously allowed us to use it the Shabbos before the season officially opened. 

Elkie and Velvie and their family live in Brooklyn.  Bashie and Yossie and their children drove in from Montreal.  Hudie flew in from Atlanta, as did Mendy and Shternie with their baby.  Unfortunately Hudie’s wife Estee who is expecting soon I”YH  had to remain there, with their children.  Chanie and Mendy and their crew drove in from Needham, MA.  Faigy, her husband Yoel and their son, as well as Sholom Ber and Dovid were already in NY.  Chaim had nearly finished his first year in Sydney, and was able to find a way to fly in.  I hadn’t seen him in well over a year.  Yoel had just finished semicha  in Arad, Israel, so he could come.  Schneur flew in from Postville, Iowa and Shmuelie from Minnesota.  

Everything seemed to be going right along to plan.  I arrived on Wednesday afternoon.  Itchie had had a stress test two weeks earlier, and was trying to get through to his doctor to get the results.  “Hey, I’m still alive, so obviously I passed,” he kidded.  Unfortunately the doctor, when we finally reached him Thursday morning, was less than pleased with the results, and ordered him immediately back to the hospital to have another angiogram.  So there I was sitting in the hospital waiting room, unsure of what was going on in the catheterization lab, and with the first group of kids not sure if they should go up to the country or not.  I told them to go, and G-d willing there would still be a birthday celebration.  The doctors put two “new and improved” stents into Itchie’s heart, and he spent the night availing himself of the deluxe accommodations in the hospital.  Friday we were all “on shpilkes,” not knowing if we’d make it to the country on time or not.  At around 1:00 Faigy left in the first vehicle, for the country.  An hour later, Hudie left with three of the boys.  Finally, yet another hour later, at about the very last minute Itchie was released from the hospital.  Chaim drove us and the younger boys, in busy summer-everyone’s-going-to-the-country-traffic and we arrived at the bungalow colony in the country a mere half hour before Shabbos.  At that point, Itchie was instructed to open the mystery box that our dear old friends Scott and Sandy Colish had over-nighted up from Florida.  It was a virtual birthday-in-a-box kit with everything from birthday horns for all of the grandchildren and sugar-free nosh,  to clothing for the birthday boy to wear to his party!

It was so nice being all together for the weekend.  It would be so lovely if we could do it every year!  Elkie even prepared special food for those of us on our South Beach Diet.  My sons-in-law had an opportunity to kid their shviger, and the kids got to spend Shabbos together with their cousins.  Sunday, some of us even got to go swimming in the newly filled and freezing cold pool. 

Sunday night we drove back to Brooklyn, and we spent all day Monday packing bags for Schneur and Shmuelie to go to camp.  We took them to their buses last night and saw them off.

We arrived home to find a massive box nearly blocking the door.   “Rabbi and Mrs. Lipszyc” was written neatly across the top.  “Where did this come from?”  I asked.  Apparently when we were gone, someone had been asked to drop it off for us.  This is what the note in the mystery box said: 


Dear Rabbi Lipszyc,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  May you have many more happy birthdays, (but please don’t expect a present for each one; maybe the next 60th one.) I heard that you need a new laptop, so that’s my birthday present to you. I also know that your wife is the person who really does the work, so I figured she could use one too. Both of you should use them in good health.

From a secret admirer of both of you.

I think we were both flabbergasted!  I certainly was!  I’m used to getting things like memo pads with pens and vases and candy dishes on my birthday!  And it feels so weird not to even be able to thank the person who gave us this amazing gift!  Anyone who has read the letters on this blog knows how desperately I need a normal computer!  So all I can do is say:


It’s really kind of strange – several years ago an anonymous benefactor donated a Sefer Torah to our shul.  Then another person ‘who admires our work’ donated the Playstation 3 as a prize for the seder this year.  And the heating system was also donated anonymously. I guess now we just need to find two more Secret Admirers to build the shul and fix up the school building, and we’ll be all set!

Take care!

Love, Leah

On A Roll!

I guess the “Daily Dose” from the Rebbe today is pretty apropos – “Lead a supernatural life and G-d will provide the miracles.” Boruch Hashem we had a mazeldike week! First Yoel getting his semicha, and now Boruch Hashem, an anonymous benefactor is sponsoring the new heating system for our school, Bais Menachem! Many, many thanks to this anonymous person! Next on the list is a new roof -- probably now in the area of $25,000. We can’t really make the cosmetic repairs to the building till the roof is changed, so the leaking rainwater doesn’t keep on damaging the building. So if you know of anyone who is able to help us with that, or the computer lab, gym -- or a new computer for me (this one goes off every 5 minutes or so and I keep losing my work -- which is why this is a short post) -- we'd love to hear from you! Paka for now! Leah

Mazel Tov!

Hi!  I just want to share our good news with everyone!  This afternoon, B"H, our son Yoel passed his final semicha exam!  This is a picture of him with Itchie on Purim, when he flew in from Eretz Yisroel to read the Megillah here.

The Budget I Promised and more

Hi!  I'm writing this at 3:00 a.m. from the internet cafe.  (I know, I know -- I'm going home in a few minutes and will go RIGHT to sleep!)  My computer has been on the blink again. We THOUGHT we finally got it fixed two days ago, but it's worse now than it was before, and I'm back to using the internet cafe.  One of these days an entire brand new computer will materialize from somewhere.  Meanwhile I'm working like crazy with the broken computer whose screen blacks out every 4-5 minutes and then it has to be re-booted.  It took a good part of the day to put pictures on my memory card and CDs, to send to Levi, the wonderful bochur who is helping us set up this site.  To top things off, in order to compensate and save time, I sent him big attachments from several windows simultaneously, and ended up getting my gmail turned off for 24 hours! 

Anyway -- back in my posting of Letter 12, I promised to give you a more recent budget for Bais Menachem.  So -- here it is -- almost -- food and gas prices have soared now and I didn't change them yet.








At present, the school’s monthly budget consists of the following.  (Much of this is minimal, and should be much higher):







Fire Dept. tax



Salary of teachers and staff 



Salary taxes




Kitchen expenses



Maintenance supplies



Office supplies



Rent of the school bus



Gas for the school car



“Good will” and discretionary fund



Expense of traditions teachers (rent of the apartment, salary, tickets)



Celebration of the Jewish holidays, etc (average)



Total monthly budget



Total monthly expenses for the year



At present, our yearly expenses consist of the following. 

(Much of this is also minimal, and really should be much higher):








Medosmotr (Health Department exams) for staff




Professional journals, and educational materials




Upkeep of building and grounds




Bonus fund for students and employees




Advertisement for school, school’s summer camp and    

holiday activities



Educational excursions



Total monthly expenses for the year




Total monthly and yearly expenses, excluding periodic expenses such as licensing and other documents, repairs, remodeling, and equipment, which vary from year to year.



Realistic total expenses for one year


This year we will actually have higher expenses, as the school needs a major rehauling because of the terrible condition it's in.  Kind of reminds me of our old house in Oak Park, Michigan.  When we bought it, the carpet looked fine.  Only after I shampooed it the first time did I find out that the old owner's dog had chewed out pieces from it, and she'd re-glued them in place.  The school looked pretty good when we bought it, but now we see that there are a great many problems, because it's an old building.  We desperately need a new roof, heating system, electrical system, computer and science labs, and a gym.  There's a story about a balebus who wants to buy his rabbi a new hat, but the rabbi says it would really be too expensive.  He says "no, really rabbi, I want to buy you a new hat -- your oln one really isn't in good condition."  The rabbi replies "no, you don't understand.  If I have a new hat, how will that look with my old kapote and old shoes?  So I'll need to get them as well.  And once I do that, how will it look if my rebbitzen doesn't have a new dress and a new sheitle?"  Once we truly look at the school, it doesn't only need the "urgent" things -- it needs real, hole-less blackboards, windows, floorings, a better kitchen, and on and on and on..... 

You might want to have a look at our Wishlist, posted above on the right, and see if there's anything at all you can help with.  It starts with big time items, but down further are the smaller items like clocks and pencils, nosh and mezuzahs.....  (Of course money never hurts either.) 

And if you happen to know anyone who would like the zechus of having a school named for them or their loved ones, and aquire the merit of the learning done in the school -- you know who can use it.

Okay -- I'm gonna call a taxi and head on home.

G'nite everyone! 

Leah & Co.  (Not that there's much Co. around here these days, since Itchie's always away, the boys are learning abroad, and our "adopted" kids are too.  Ruchama is in Machon Chana, Sarah Rivkah is in Machon Alta, Chaya and Michoel are also in Eretz Yisroel, and Mendy is in Kiryat Malachi with his wife Leah and new baby Tzila Brocho.)

Oh -- and our current email addresses are: and .

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